Apple-Toffee Pie

Wednesday, November 13

Apple-Toffee Pie | une gamine dans la cuisine


"Change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass." ~ John Steinbeck, from Sweet Thursday

Maybe it's the vacant space where my great ash tree once stood (only a few weeks ago. Already?), or maybe it's the shorter days that end too soon, as an unfinished sentence. Something has procured an unquenchable thirst...a desire to chase down lofty dreams, no matter how dauntingly distant they appear in the stratosphere. During the cold stretch of time between November and April, my mind hums "come spring, things will change." Of course it seldom does. This year, I'll opt for flourishing instead of wilting - even in prickly February. The nay-saying doubts are my own. They wait like crows on bare crooked branches, flapping their ragged wings and cawing if I get too close to what I want. But doubts are merely feathers and smoke, and their beaks only peck at the things we should go after the most. Next time I'll be wearing thick orange gloves with blue velvet lining.

Enough with the heavy, lets discuss apples & pie & all things that nestle in all butter crusts.



Apple-Toffee Pie | une gamine dans la cuisine


My pie addiction is endless. I used to consider myself a cake girl - cakes are fancy and polished and gregarious. They're also dramatic and high maintenance. I've changed (although in my defense, I was never high maintenance...dramatic, yup. Def!). Now that I'm slightly more mellow, I'm drawn to the rustic simplicity of pies. There is something soothing about rolling out pie dough. Everything is coated in flour dust, the cupboards and fridge are dotted with floury fingerprints, and my elbow almost always bumps into an awkward angled microwave on a too-small counter top - it's a chaotic symphony of movement and flying flour. The soundtrack for this particular pie was a heady mix of Keren Ann and Boardwalk Empire (Volume 1). For about 43 minutes I was an existential, flour stained flapper. Lots of dry tears and dancing in this pie.

Speaking of this pie, it's fantabulous! The crust is my go-to crust recipe - super easy to work with, always forgiving, and irresistibly flaky. I kept the filling humble and sweet - Ida red apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and toffee bits. The toffee is brill. It doesn't overpower the pie or the apples, it just gives everything an extra rich buttery essence. When the pie first came out of the oven it was ridiculously high. I was excited to dub it a "mile high" pie. Unfortunately the crust lost some of its height after cooling. It still held a lovely cathedral-like arch over the filling...just not quite high enough to reach mile high club status. ;)

Recipe note: If you don't have Ida red apples, feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Honeycrisp and/or Pink Lady would make this pie epic!


Apple-Toffee Pie | une gamine dans la cuisine



Apple-Toffee Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

for the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (use more if desired)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into bits
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
6-8 Tablespoons cold half & half cream

for the filling
3 lbs apples (I used about 8 Ida Red apples)
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed

for finishing
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

method
Prepare the crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Toss in the cold butter bits - mix until coated in flour. Place everything into the bowl of a large food processor and pulse several times until you're left with a mixture that resembles cornmeal (it will look very dry). Place back into large mixing bowl and place the bowl into freezer - freeze for about 20 minutes.

Remove the bowl from freezer. Sprinkle with about 3 Tablespoons of the cream and, using a large rubber spatula, gently work the cream into the butter/flour mixture. Slowly start adding more cream (about 1/2 Tablespoon at a time) until the dough comes together and becomes cohesive. {Note: You probably won't need all 8 Tablespoons of cream. The dough should be slightly sticky, not "wet."}

Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Well-wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for up to five days.

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge. Let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes if it's too stiff for rolling. On a floured surface, roll the disk out into a 14-inch circle that's about 1/4-inch thick. Gently place the circle into a 9-inch pie plate - trim the edges so there's a one inch overhang.  Place plate into fridge.

Line a large, flat cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the second disk of dough and roll it out into another 14-inch circle. Carefully transfer the circle to parchment-lined sheet. Refrigerate as you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Prepare the filling: Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter into slices that are about 1/4-inch thick (you can cut the apples into chunks too).  Place apple slices into large mixing bowl. Add the toffee, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir everything together until the apples are coated in sugar and toffee bits. Set aside.

Remove both the pie plate and the rolled out circle of dough from fridge. To avoid any cracking, allow both to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Fill crust-lined pie plate with the apple mixture. Drape the upper crust over the apples. Trim the top crust so it's slightly longer than the bottom - tuck it under the bottom crust. Pinch both crusts together to seal and use the tines of a fork to decorate the outer rim. Use a sharp pairing knife to make an "X" on top of the crust, make about five 2-inch slits around the rest of the pie. Brush entire crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 45-58 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown. If the edges are browning too fast, cover them loosely with tin foil. {Note: My pie filling oozed out a bit onto the oven floor. If this happens to you just place foil-lined baking sheet on the rack beneath the pie.}

Remove the pie from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before enjoying!

23 comments:

  1. This is such a stunner! I want a slice right now!!!

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  2. Oh, can I have a slice please? It looks very tempting.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Ooo - apple! I just made a fall pie from a new Sunset magazine recipe, apples, cranberries, raisins and walnuts. It is really good!

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  4. i have never made a pie but since you mentioned how forgiving this is, i might have to give it a shot :)

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  5. I am a pie addict as well, hahaah. And this one looks so delicious.

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  6. I can only imagine how delicious this tastes. And the toffee bits sound heavenly! I love pies you post! Keep them coming!!

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  7. Now *this* is the pie I've been craving all week! Apple + toffee sounds like absolute heaven to me. I'm ready for a nice big slice with a steaming mug of coffee :).

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  8. I just love that you combined the apples with toffee, it's such a good idea! Your pie is gorgeous - I've been craving apple pie for weeks but have been too lazy to make it :)

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  9. This pie looks divine. And here's to chasing down lofty dreams, even those that are dauntingly distant!

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  10. Valerie, you made my evening. Apple Pie is my favorite food and this one just looks stunning! Toffee... great idea.

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  11. You make the absolute best pies. Ever. This looks divine.

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  12. What a stunning pie! I want to just jump in and have a slice. The toffee just sang to me.

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  13. well val I think the emptiness is the sun; the strength of the warm sun; the brightness of the summer sun.
    it's what I feel this time of year and try my best to fend off the SAD and replace it with more baking.

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  14. Oh apple pie-a beauty for sure!!! You always inspire me with your pies and creativity ;)

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  15. This pie and those photos.... SO gorgeous! I am all for chasing lofty dreams... it can be scary but rewarding!

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  16. This looks so good! Your crust looks fantastic, much better than when I try. I think I always underbake my crusts cus they never look that brown and delicious.

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  17. That's beyond gorgeous! And you, my dear, need to write a book... any book... LOVE your writing!!

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  18. You are my pie-making hero. This may actually be my favourite pie ever, Valerie!

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  19. your pies are always so pretty, this is no exception! I love the idea of toffee and apple - perfectly autumn combination! Sending you all my best wishes in making those dreams come true - whatever it is, you will be great :)

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  20. Your words are like poetry, such a pleasure to read. If you wrote a book, it'd be perfection to read with a cozy cup of tea and a good slice of pie :)

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Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie

 

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